Ghosts, Grottos and Cro-Magnon man in Limousin

by Karen
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During our eight night stay at the small but lovely Camping Parc Verger we took some time to relax and get over our colds, do some maintenance on the RV and explore the region.

Lascaux

One of the reasons for staying in this area was to visit Lascaux. We visited Lascaux II six years ago and we were eager to take Olivia to visit the beautiful cave recreation and see the stunning Cro-Magnon art. We had not realised that in the years since our visit, the all new Lascaux IV had opened.

Lascaux caves were discovered in September 1940, on the hill overlooking Montignac village, by a group of 4 teenagers. It was opened to the public to view but in March 1963 they were closed due to deterioration of the cave paintings. In 1983 Lascaux II opened, a recreated cave and paintings using original painting materials and techniques. In 2016 a new cave was built, the replica represents the whole of the original cave accessible to the public.

It now has a brilliant new recreation covering even more of the original cave in incredible detail. The new museum is very tech oriented, with each visitor being issued a personal tablet and ear phones so you can always here the guide talking. We took an hours guided tour with an English speaking guide.

Inside the replica, the atmosphere is like a real cave. It is cool and dark. Sounds are muffled. You can appreciate the splendour of the works in an authentic atmosphere with very few interruptions.

After visiting the cave you go straight into the museum. Here the tablet interacts with the exhibits, guiding you through in English. The kids device gives them games that interact with the exhibit which was great but a little distracting. We then spent a couple of hours looking at the further recreations and artefacts.

It was delightful to see and hear how excited Olivia was by the cave, and it was a great reminder for us that ‘cavemen’ were far more sophisticated than we often give credit for.

Oradour-sur-Glane – Village Martyr

Another place we were interested in visiting was the ghost town of Oradour-Sur-Glane. We were not entirely sure how we would feel and how indeed Olivia would get on with looking round such a sad location.

Before we went we sat down and did some research and introduced Olivia to the town via a child friendly introduction. We used this great page by Academic Kids which explains the story in a mild but informative way. We felt that after reading this information and discussing it with Olivia that we would all still like to visit.

What is there to say about Oradour-sur-Glane?

On the 10th of June 1944, the German army massacred 642 people in this village, robbed them of any valuable possessions and then burned the rest as an example to the French resistance. Since then, the village has been used as a memorial to those who died here and elsewhere, and as a lesson for the future about the horrors of war.

Walking around Oradour-sur-Glane you experience a range of emotions that are difficult to pin down. There’s great sadness at what happened to the men, women and children of this and neighbouring villages, alongside the fact that they were so close to allied rescue. There’s confusion at how the German army could act in the ways they did, both here and elsewhere.

And there’s also a haunting beauty to this ghost town, a modern ruin to sit alongside abandoned chateaus and great houses from centuries past.

Olivia coped very well with the town, she asked questions and had moments of contemplation, asking for hugs afterwards. She acted in a very respectful manner unlike a lot of the school kids on trips there were behaving.

At the end of the visit Olivia said “Even though they died, we are lucky that the memorial is here, or we’d never remember this beautiful but sad sight. This place is sad, but it’s amazing and even though they died, we’ll remember them.”

This is a truly amazing place to visit and would highly recommend a trip there. There is a small museum which we did not visit as it goes into a bit too much detail for Olivia.

Saint-Junien

After spending many hours at Oradour-sur-Glane, we stopped at the pretty town of Saint-Junien – which we had wound our way through on the way to Parc Verger.

Due to the time, we didn’t visit the town particularly, but headed down to the church and the bridge to look at the strangely shaped weir and get some photos of the bridge.

The V shaped weir stretches across the river in three sections, and was presumably installed to direct water into the old flour mill.

Driving Around

Driving around the Limousin area was pretty and fun in the BMW with the narrow twisty roads, though at times terrifying for Karen being on the side of the on coming cars! She flinched and recoiled in her seat many times. It was very tricky at times in the RV as the roads were so narrow, with huge ditches if you came off the road. Also in villages a lot of the building have balconies which stick out around the height of the RV so if there was camber on the road the top of the RV came close to catching them!!

Limoges – Parc de l’Aurance

After a couple of relaxing / working days over the weekend we decided to get out for a walk. We found this charming little park in Limoges.

At the main entrance there is a free car park and then you start with a walk in an enclosed area which is reserved for animals. They are well pampered and interested in, and happy to see their many visitors. There were dwarf goats, guinea fowl, angora goats, roosters, sheep, rabbits and geese. 

Then there’s 1-2km of walking around the park and along the river where you will see more sheep and some donkeys. We stopped for a picnic lunch at a bend in the river, where Olivia tested the waters and Pepper went right in for a drink!

Lovely place to spend a few hours in nature.

Voie verte

Just 100m from the site is a Voie Verte (cycle network). So as Olivia has her new bike and is getting a lot more confident I decided to head out for a ride and see how she got on.

Some how we ended up dressed very similarly but oh well. We got our helmets on, George pumped up my tyres and we headed out.

After a short ride down the road we stopped and crossed onto the Voie Verte. It was a pleasant route on a nice flat tarmac path which follows the route of an old railway line. The path is lined with trees which makes it nice and shaded on a hot day. We passed some goats, a pond with duckings and saw lots of beautiful countryside and butterflies.

We cycled a little way for Olivia’s first time out and then turned round and came back. We did a total of 2.6 miles but the more fit and able would to cycle a lot further.

Grotte de Tourtoirac

Another great place to visit are these beautiful caves.

Discovered in 1995, this 3.5km long cave is filled with stalagmites and stalactites in many interesting shapes as well as columns, draperies, helictites and other forms of formations.

With our guide and our audio device we head down into the cave. You walk along a flat platform which is above the stream that helped carve this amazing cave. The audio guide explains how the cave was found by some cave divers and a little about the structures you see. The largest stalactite was an amazing 4 metres in length. If you use your imagination you can see all kinds of shapes such as butterflies and frogs.

We were all impressed by the cave which was easy to access via a lift – rather than the scary looking inspection hole visible from the ticket office!

We thought the whole visit was excellent from the cave itself which was beautiful and very interesting, to the audio guide which was very clear and to the people who worked there as they were very welcoming and helpful.

Conclusion

All in all we loved this area, there is a lot of interesting and beautiful places to visit and it is a very pretty and relaxing place to stay.

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